Expert accuses Russia of blackmailing Europe over gas trade
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Pro-EU agitator Steve Bray shared a video clip to his Twitter feed, which appears to show Tory MPs leaving the Manchester conference to the tune of the Soviet Union’s anthem. Mr Bray was seen outside of the Manchester Central Convention Complex yesterday, sporting a Soviet-style army hat and placard attacking the Prime Minister. The activist from Port Talbot in South Wales, who is sometimes known as the Stop Brexit Man, accused the Government of being Vladimir Putin’s “puppet”.
In another video, Mr Bray can be seen yelling through a megaphone and levelling accusations of the Government selling the nation out to foreign interests.
He said: “The Tory party – Putin’s puppets.”
In other clips he shared, the activist can be seen approaching Christopher Malthouse, Minister for Crime and Policing, as well as Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport.
Mr Bray was also seen brandishing a placard reading: “Get Johnson out of our democracy!”
Many pointed out in the replies that the unusual provocation came after the wholesale price of gas skyrocketed by 37 percent to an all-time high in just 24 hours.
The price of gas for delivery in November spiked to 400p per therm on Wednesday morning but proceeded to fall after an intervention from the Russian President.
Mr Putin indicated Russia would turn the tap on its European pipelines, causing gas prices to fall back down to 267p per therm later in the day.
The rising cost of wholesale gas has recently seen a total of nine small energy suppliers go bust, sparking fears of a heating crisis this winter.
EU politicians have accused the Kremlin of deliberately withholding gas from Europe as a way of putting political pressure on the economic bloc.
And the brewing energy crisis has started to exposed cracks in the EU’s united front.
Russia is presently waiting for approval of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which runs directly from Russia to Germany in the Baltic Sea.
Russia’s dealings with Europe, which include a 15-year deal with Hungary, have led to claims of Russia weaponising its natural gas reserves.
The Kremlin’s deal with Budapest, in particular, triggered a diplomatic row last month over Ukraine’s national security.
Mr Putin, however, thinks Europe itself is to blame for the energy crunch.
Speaking at a televised meeting with Russian energy officials, he said: “They’ve made mistakes.”
He argued the EU’s choice to terminate long-term contracts in favour of the spot market was a critical factor in the energy crisis.
He added: “It turned out, and today this is absolutely obvious, that this policy is wrong.”
With the collapse of nine energy suppliers in the UK, more than 1.7 million customers were affected in September alone.
National Grid has also warned of a potential energy crisis this winter – the first major crisis to rock the UK since the outbreak of COVID-19.
John Pettigrew, the National Grid’s chief executive, told the Financial Times Britain faces an energy crunch due to a lack of capacity in the system and forecasts of a cold winter.
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